Services for children and young people in Northamptonshire (aged 0-25) with special educational needs and disabilities.

NCC - Early Years, Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 Year Olds


Type of service:
Finance And Funding
One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN1 1ED
Service description:
The Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds
Free childcare places otherwise known as 'The Free Entitlement' offer all 3-4 year olds 570 hours a year of funded childcare.

This needs to be spread across three funding blocks, with a maximum of 15 hours a week. Children are eligible the first full funding block following their 3rd birthday.

Funding blocks are from:

- 1st September to 31st December
- 1st January to 31st March
- 1st April to 31st August
For example: A child born on the 3rd February would be eligible from the 1st April following their 3rd birthday.

When can I take up a Free Entitlement place for my child?
There is no cut-off date for a child to apply for a free entitlement place. There is a headcount day when all childcare providers have to count the children they have in their care who are eligible for a free entitlement place and submit those details to Northamptonshire County Council Early Help and Prevention Team for the funding to be paid.

This has no impact on the children or parents and carers; your child is entitled to that funded place and you should be able to take that place at an OFSTED registered childcare provider of your choice.

Which childcare provider can you use?

You can access the Free Entitlement at most OFSTED registered childcare providers. These include:

- Private day nurseries
- Pre-school playgroups
- Maintained nurseries (those attached to a school)
- Childminders
- Independent schools

Details of all childcare providers can be found on the Children and Families Service Finder.

If you require assistance regarding the free entitlement , please do not hesitate to contact us at

You may choose for your child to take all or part of their free entitlement at a maximum of two childcare providers.

Age range:
3 years - 4 years, 11 months
Eligibility criteria:
  • Age
Referral route:
  • Self Referral
Last updated on:

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